Archive for the ‘ASEAN General News’ Category
PHNOM PENH, May 10 (Xinhua) — The National Assembly of Cambodia on Friday ratified the agreement on maritime transport between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, saying the agreement is essential to develop trade and economic ties between ASEAN and China.
Seventy-five out of 76 lawmakers attending the Assembly session gave ratification to the agreement.
“The agreement aims to facilitate and foster cooperation in passenger and cargo transport by sea among the signatories,” Nin Saphon, Chairwoman of the National Assembly’s Commission on Public Work, Industry, Mines, Energy, Commerce, and Land Management, said during the session.
The agreement was signed by Transport Ministers of member countries of the ASEAN and China in Singapore in November 2007, she said.
Cambodian Minister of Pubic Work and Transport Tram Iv Tek said that cooperation in the international maritime transport field between the contracting parties will be beneficial for the development of the trade and economic relations between the member countries of ASEAN and China.
“This agreement is very significant for Cambodia in solidifying international cooperation, chiefly the cooperation between China and Cambodia, refining and burgeoning maritime development in the interests of Cambodia’s economic prosperity,” he said.
The ASEAN-China maritime transport agreement will take effect once ratified by all the ASEAN member countries and China.
According to the National Assembly of Cambodia, so far, all contracting parties, except Indonesia, have already ratified the agreement.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, April 11 (Xinhua) — ASEAN foreign affairs and trade ministers on Thursday held meetings and discussed, among others, the progress made since the 21st ASEAN Summit, including political and security cooperation.
The ASEAN Ministerial Meetings in preparation for the 22nd ASEAN Summit were held at the International Convention Centre.
ASEAN ministers discussed the on-going work on the publication of the ASEAN Security Outlook, and received reports from various ASEAN bodies for submission to the ASEAN leaders.
A press release issued following the closed-door meetings said ASEAN ministers emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, stability, mutual trust and cooperation to enhance maritime security, and of ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.
The ministers also reiterated the need for all parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes.
The ministers reiterated their Statement on the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea, and emphasized the need to maintain momentum on dialogue and consultations following the positive outcome of the 19th ASEAN-China Senior Officials consultation.
The ministers tasked their senior officials to work actively with China on the way forward for the early conclusion of the code of conduct on the basis of consensus, the press release said.
China says disputes over the sovereignty of some islands in the South China Sea and the overlapping of ocean rights in some parts of the region should be solved by the countries concerned through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of respecting history and international laws.
28-01-2013 VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times / ANN) – Mekong River Commission (MRC) member countries are not urging Laos to halt construction of the Xayaboury dam in northern Laos as has been reported in some foreign media outlets.
At meetings of MRC members held in Luang Prabang province, Laos, last week, none of the three members who are Laos’ immediate neighbours voiced opposition to the Xayaboury hydropower project, which is now under construction in Xayaboury province.
Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam agreed that Laos should continue to improve the design of the run-of-river dam with a special focus on minimising the impacts on sediment flows and fish migration.
They also called for a comprehensive study of all development activity along the Mekong River, closer monitoring of development projects, and wider dissemination of information regarding development.
According to a statement by the Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Dr Nguyen Thai Lai, provided to the MRC meetings, Vietnam expressed concern about the possible adverse impacts of the Xayaboury project and other developments on the Mekong.
He called on all four countries, and MRC development partners, to support implementation of the Study on Sustainable Management and Development of the Mekong River.
The study will assess the relationship of six impacts on the use of Mekong River water: irrigation, agriculture and land use, domestic and industrial use, flood protection structures, hydropower and transport.
Permanent Vice-Chairman of the Cambodian National Mekong Committee, Mr Sin Niny, said in a statement that Cambodia encourages MRC members and donors to mobilise all resources and efforts to support the implementation of the study.
He told donors he would ensure that sound Mekong River Basin development planning and management could be done jointly and in a sustainable way, for the sake of the riparian countries.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Mr Viraphonh Viravong said the Lao government joins other MRC countries in wanting to accelerate the comprehensive study “so that all the impacts – not only hydropower – will be assessed in order to help ensure sustainable development on the Mekong River.”
He added that Laos also wants a flow of information and data to be established for more effective monitoring of development in the Basin.
“There is a mountain of information with us and we want to make sure that we can hand over the relevant information to the concerned organisations,” he said.
Mr Viraphonh, who is Vice Chairman of the Lao National Mekong Committee, questioned the motives of those in media and international organisations who continue to suggest that some MRC member countries are calling for a halt to the Xayaboury project.
“We don’t understand why the foreign media and some NGOs insist on pitting MRC member countries against each other when the facts, the minutes and the proceedings of meetings clearly show that the member countries are not opposed. The Lao government has a responsibility to develop national hydropower resources in a sustainable manner for the benefit of our people, but those who continue to voice opposition have no responsibility to the Lao people.”
MANILA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — A three-day workshop to address the growing phenomenon of violence against women in ASEAN countries began on Tuesday in the Philippines, a senior government official said here.
The Training Workshop on Strengthening Capacities of Communities, Practitioners and Policy Makers to Address Violence Against Women (VAW) is part of Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) commitment to advance the goals of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said.
“The workshop hopes to identify common approaches that service providers and practitioners can adapt to effectively address violence against women in the Asian region,” she said.
The event is being participated by social workers, law enforcement officers and non-government organizations (NGOs) involved in managing cases of victims-survivors of violence against women, from the ten ASEAN member-states.
The gathering aims to provide a venue for participating countries to share their initiatives, strategies, gains, challenges, and recommendations on strengthening capacities of communities, practitioners and policy makers in addressing VAW focusing on victims-survivors, perpetrators, and enabling mechanisms, Soliman said.
“This time, we need to focus on the service providers and stakeholders, particularly on strengthening the capacities of communities, practitioners and policy makers as the next step to eliminate violence against women. We are looking forward to a fruitful sharing of ideas and strategies that will effectively eliminate this social malady in the Asian region,” she said.
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — In the backdrop of a historic visit by U.S. President Barrack Obama, the 21st ASEAN summit closed here on Tuesday after making significant strides on key trade, human rights and regional disputes.
Obama, the first ever sitting president to visit Cambodia, during talks with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders pledged to engage in a range of issues including economic and security aspects.
ASEAN Secretary General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan in a brief interaction with media after the U.S.ASEAN meeting remarked that Obama had stated the U.S. would support the centrality of the bloc.
“ASEAN leaders welcomed the statement on supporting ASEAN centrality in the evolution of cooperation in the region. The U.S. also pledged to engage economically and work on security stability in the region.”
Assuring of a long engagement Obama had remarked on the rapid increase in relations between the two sides and insisted that continued meetings would result in more extensive engagement.
“All leaders were enthusiastic of more extensive relations and continuous summits that would lay down irreversible momentum for U. S. and ASEAN relations,” he said.
Another important aspect that was highlighted was ASEAN’s adoption of a Human Rights Declaration. However the document ran into criticism from activists that insisted it was too flawed to be passed but Cambodian Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong was emphatic that it was a “starting point” for the region to address human rights concerns.
More than 50 local and international rights groups criticized the document insisting that the signing should have been postponed so that the declaration could be redrafted.
In response to criticism, ASEAN foreign ministers decided to add a paragraph to the Declaration at the last minute expressing that it would abide by the stipulations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but won few fans for the effort.
On the economic front, ASEAN and its partners on Tuesday launched negotiations of a comprehensive partnership agreement that when completed will be the world’s biggest regional free trade deal.
Australia, China, India, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand, officially kicked off negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP at the final day of the 21st Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The idea was first mooted at the 19th ASEAN Summit in November 2011.
The significant progress made in ASEAN’s FTAs with China (ACFTA) , Japan (AJCEP), Korea (AKFTA), India (AIFTA), and Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA) has put these trading partners in a position to bring to a higher level economic partnership.
When completed the RCEP will span 16 countries with a combined market of over 3 billion people and a combined GDP of about 19.78 trillion U.S. dollars based on 2011 figures.
“With the region accounting for more than half of the global market and about a third of the global economic output, there is no doubt that a successful RCEP would significantly contribute and boost global trade and investment,” said Dr. Pitsuwan.
RCEP negotiations are expected to commence in 2013.
In addition it was reported that South Korea, China and Japan had also agreed to form a free trade agreement at the summit, which is expected to formally begin next year.
Malaysia and Indonesia during bilateral meetings with China called for more investment from the world’s fastest growing economy and promised to fast track trade agreements.
Trade between ASEAN and China is set to continue its expansion with the bloc’s largest trade partner encouraged to step up investment in the region.
“We are hoping for more investment from China. Even though trade has grown tremendously the trade deficit and trade gap between ASEAN and China is larger than in some other regions,” Dr. Pitsuwan said.
Trade between China and ASEAN has sky-rocketed from 7.9 billion U.S. dollars in 1991 to 292.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.
The FTA between ASEAN and China became effective in 2010.
Smaller countries such as Myanmar also progressed on economic agreements. On Monday Thailand and Myanmar signed a joint agreement to move ahead with the multi-billion dollar Development of Dawei Special Economic Zone (DSEZ). Japan and India have also expressed interest in jump starting trade and investment relations with the fast-changing nation.
An eventful 21st ASEAN summit concluded with Cambodia ceremoniously handing over the chairmanship to Brunei, passing on the responsibility of meeting the demanding target of an ASEAN community by 2015 and setting the stage for intensified engagement as Asia continues to spearhead world growth.
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — The first-ever ASEAN global dialogue was held here on Tuesday, focusing discussions on global challenges, particularly economic and financial issues.
The dialogue, held back to back with the 21st ASEAN Summit and related Summit, was attended by the leaders or representatives of East Asia Summit and the heads or representatives of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Asian Development Bank, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The high-level forum was initiated by Cambodia, aiming at exchanging views on global challenges and ASEAN role in contributing to solve all issues, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the opening address.
“We hold the meeting while the world has not completely got out of the global financial crisis, so we have to continue facing the uncertainties of economic growth and other issues in the future,” he said.
He added that slow economic growth and weak financial system in some developed countries have caused the global market to face instability and investors are reluctant to release their capitals.
“Despite in this difficulty, to date, ASEAN economies remain resilient,” he said. “However, if the situation of the global economy is still weak, ASEAN will be inevitable from the consequences of the crisis.”
“Therefore, the dialogue is very important to reflect the rising role of ASEAN in interactions to determine economic policies in the region and the world,” said the premier.
Leaders of the 18 countries in the East Asia Summit including the ten-member ASEAN and the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and Russia are gathering here to attend the 7th East Asia Summit, which will be held this Tuesday afternoon.
Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) — The leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the U.S. leader agreed to institutionalize the Leaders Meeting to an annual Summit as a further step towards raising the ASEAN-U.S. partnership to a strategic level, according to a press statement on Tuesday.
The press statement, released by the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary, was made after the Fourth ASEAN-U.S. Leaders’ meeting co-chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, chair of ASEAN in 2012, and U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday evening at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
“The Summit deepened our diplomatic, economic, security, and people-to-people ties with the key Asian multilateral organization, ” it said, adding that with a population of approximately 620 million and a combined GDP of over 2.2 trillion U.S. dollars, ASEAN is the United States’fourth largest export market.
At the meeting, the United States and ASEAN welcomed the launch of the U.S.-ASEAN Expanded Economic Engagement (E3) initiative a new framework for economic cooperation designed to expand trade and investment ties between the United States and ASEAN, creating new business opportunities and jobs in all eleven countries.
The two blocs’ leaders also endorsed the U.S.-ASEAN Innovation in Science through Partners in Regional Engagement (INSPIRE) initiative to enhance science and technology cooperation between the U.S. and ASEAN.
“INSPIRE will strengthen our collective approach to achieving important science and technology, disaster preparedness, and health objectives and deepen ties between ASEAN and U.S. scientific communities,” the statement said.
Besides, leaders discussed the importance of building the role and influence of the East Asia Summit so that it can effectively address pressing political and strategic issues in the region and they also discussed the importance of putting mechanisms and processes in place to peacefully manage disputes over competing claims in the South China Sea.
“In this context, they expressed support for the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’Statement on “Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea” and called for early conclusion of a Regional Code of Conduct, ” it said.
At the meeting, the U.S. government announced the creation of the Expanded ASEAN Seafarer’s Training (EAST) program to improve counter-piracy training and education in the region.
The ASEAN region is home to over half of the world’s seafaring workers, it said, adding that the program, administered by the Maritime Administration under U.S. Department of Transportation, will be expanded from its current pilot phase working with the Philippines.
Meanwhile, to further enhance cooperation confronting the shared challenge of piracy, Washington announced its intention to join the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against ships in Asia.
The Summit was made between the leaders of the ten-country ASEAN led by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and the leaders of the +3 countries including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Before starting the Summit, there was the Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the ASEAN+3 Cooperation by screening a documentary on the ASEAN+3 Cooperation achievements.
Speaking at the opening of the Summit, Hun Sen said that the Summit was to review the progress of the ASEAN+3 Cooperation and ASEAN+3 future cooperation directions and the exchange of views on regional and international issues. “During the past 15 years, ASEAN+3 countries have been carrying out cooperation more deeply, covering 66 institutions in 22 priority areas ranging from politics and security to economics, finance, trade and investment, connectivity and socio-cultural affairs,” he said. “We are pleased to see the fruitful achievements in all fields from the ASEAN+3 Cooperation.”
“The Plus 3 countries have become a strong partnership for ASEAN, contributing to the development of ASEAN and ensuring peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region,” he said.
He added that the future support by the Plus 3 countries for ASEAN is very important to build an ASEAN’s prosperous region.
Addressing the Summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that the Summit was a special one because it was also to mark the 15th Anniversary of ASEAN+3 Cooperation.
“I come here with sincere desire to increase mutual trust and enhance cooperation with all partners and I am looking forward to joining with leaders to discuss future cooperation and development, ” he said.
He said over the past 15 years, thanks to a concerted effort by ASEAN and the Plus 3 countries, the cooperation has steadily grown and made remarkable achievements despite changes in regional and international landscapes.
“Together, we have tackled a few major crises successfully. One was during the 1997, the Asian financial storm,” he said.
The Summit adopted the ASEAN+3 Leaders’ Joint Statement on the Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of ASEAN+3 Cooperation and the Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN+3 Partnership on Connectivity, Hun Sen said.
Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 19 (Xinhua)– Leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, South Korea and China on Monday expressed their will to forge closer ties during a summit at the Peace Palace in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.
The summit coincided with the 15th anniversary of ASEAN Plus Three (APT) cooperation, a regional mechanism that functions as a coordinator of cooperation between ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, Japan and South Korea.
During their meeting, the leaders took note with satisfaction of the expanding and deepening cooperation among them in all spheres, in particular, politics and security, economy, connectivity, food security and energy.
With the first APT summit held in December 1997, the forum has been playing an irreplaceable role in promoting East Asian unity and coordination, deepening regional economic integration and expanding horizon for common development. In the face of a weakening global economic recovery and complicated international and regional circumstances, the leaders agreed to work collectively to tackle challenges, make good use of the well-established cooperation mechanism and give full play to their own advantages, said a joint statement adopted at the end of the APT Commemorative Summit.
Monday’s meeting reviewed the progress made under the guidance of the 1999 Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation and 2007 Second Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation.
The leaders expressed their continued support for the central role of ASEAN in the evolving regional architecture. “We are pleased to see the fruitful achievements in all fields from the APT cooperation,” said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
He added that the Plus 3 countries have formed a strong partnership for ASEAN, contributing to the development of ASEAN and ensuring peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region.
Concerted efforts have also been guaranteed to forge closer APT partnership in their endeavor to build an East Asian Community in the long run, said the joint statement.
“We are committed to further strengthening cooperation and dialogue in political-security area as guided by the APT Cooperation Work Plan in order to address emerging regional and global issues as well as maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the region,” the statement reads.
It was agreed that cooperation in such sectors as education, anti-terrorism and combating transnational crime, disaster management, environment, energy diversification and information exchanges between APT nations should be deepened.
Despite changes in regional and international landscapes, APT cooperation has steadily grown and made remarkable achievements over the past 15 years, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said while addressing the meeting.
“Together, we have tackled a few major crises successfully. One was during the 1997, the Asian financial storm,” Wen said.
The APT summit also adopted the Leaders’Statement on ASEAN+3 Partnership on Connectivity.
Apart from leaders of 10 ASEAN nations, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the summit.
The APT summit followed the 21st ASEAN Summit which witnessed the launch of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation ( AIPR) and the approval of the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center in Cambodia.
The bloc achieved another landmark on Sunday with the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, supposedly a “starting point” for the region to address human rights concerns.
PHNOM PENH, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) — The economic integration of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their East Asian neighbors could help inject vitality to the wobbling global economy.
The lingering debt crisis in the Euro zone, the fiscal cliff and flagging employment in the United States, along with Japan’s public debts, have dealt serious blow to the developed economies, yet emerging Asian economies, especially the ASEAN nations, are revving up regional integration and gearing up to become the world ‘ s new engine of growth.
The bloc is also attracting key global powers, which heretofore have been geographically detached, to participate in its economic dynamism. After a decade of distraction and over emphasis in its relations with countries in the Middle East, the U.S. is finally embarking on what it termed as “strategic rebalancing” toward the Asia and Pacific region.
In the on-going ASEAN summit and related meetings here, the U.S. and the ASEAN are set to upgrade their ties to “strategic partnership”. For the first time, the International Monetary Fund( IMF) will also hold talks with ASEAN, another clear sign that the world’s financial institutions have realized the bloc’s strategic importance to the world economy.
A more ambitious plan, designed to expand free trade scope, will give Asian countries a further push towards a united economic giant.
Leaders of both ASEAN countries and six key Asia Pacific powers, including China, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, will launch the negotiation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) during the meetings.
The RCEP is designed to tear down tariff barriers and beef up regional inter-connection in trade and investment.
The RCEP is also expected to potentially transform nations in the region into the world’s biggest integrated market comprising over 3 billion people with a combined GDP of nearly 20 trillion U. S. dollars.
The Phnom Penh summit will also help move ASEAN political- security and social-culture integration a step forward, with the endorsement of a slew of documents, including ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, and ASEAN Agreement on Trafficking in Persons.
Established in 1967, the cooperation mechanism within the ASEAN has undergone long-term discussions and could become a pragmatic and potent tool to further boost regional growth.
As pointed out by China’s Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying, the cooperation mode of East Asian nations is being done in a coordinated and gradual manner and cognizant of the cultural, historic and national aspirations of the various countries in the region. The foundation of the mechanism lies in adherence to dialogue and cooperation which are very important in achieving common development and prosperity.